State of the State

January 12, 2006 at 7:09pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I read Governor Dave Heineman’s 2006 State of the State Address (PDF) today over lunch. Some thoughts:

  • He spent a lot of time tiptoeing around the term limits issue. I think he did a reasonable job steering a neutral course among the issue’s potential landmines.
  • He said “I am enthusiastic and optimistic about another opportunity I to work with you in the best interests of Nebraskans, because we have accomplished so much together in so short a time.” He missed an opportunity to tell Nebraskans what he has accomplished. Generic “I did good” comments won’t fly far in the campaign.
  • What is it with tax relief pledges? Heineman has proposed “more than $420 million in significant relief over the next three fiscal years.” Why don’t politicians ever say anything like “I will spend as little of your money as possible, as efficiently as possible, while providing the services your government is obligated to provide to you and to your fellow citizens.” Now that would be a relief. (And it would total a heckuva lot more than $420 million over three years!)
  • FYI, $420 million over three years is about $88 per year for every person in Nebraska. That does not factor in the portion of tax relief that will go to businesses.
  • Heineman prioritized the sex offender issue. Oh goodie, a session filled with sex-related hysteria and hyperventilating. I can’t wait. Sex is one topic that, when discussed in the political realm, is rarely discussed rationally.
  • He also prioritized an evaluation of the foster care system. From what I’ve heard from folks who would know, that evaluation is long overdue.
  • Heineman got some digs in on Omaha, but his execution was sloppy and simplistic. I’m sure he didn’t make any friends with any Senators from Omaha.
  • ”...[A] key issue that I believe compels legislative action in this session involves the long-term supply of our state’s most precious natural resource”, but he doesn’t offer even a single solution or recommendation. Thanks for the help, Gov. If the issue is really that important, and if he really wants Nebraskans to believe he’s an effective leader, oughtn’t he suggest something?
  • “Be assured that as long as I am Governor, Nebraska will never forget that our priority is agriculture and the needs of our agricultural producers nor will we ignore the needs of our cities.” You’re such a panderer, Governor. It’ll take more than that to stomp Coach Tom in the 3rd District, though. Much, much more.
  • If agriculture really is our top priority, we need to stop living in the early Twentieth Century. Nebraska needs to promote innovative crops, innovative cultivation methods, and innovative agricultural manufacturing technologies and products. To a small degree we do that with ethanol, but that strikes me as a product with limited long-term sustainability. How about getting agricultural biotechnology companies to invest big bucks in research centers at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln or Kearney)? How about easing stifling regulations on small producers of economically valuable niche plant and animal products? How about facilitating, rather than squashing, investments in potentially big money crops like hemp?
  • There is not one single unique, innovative, or creative idea. Not one.
  • My overall reaction: meh. Governor Heineman is going to have to do much better than this if he wants to retain the governorship. His speech is drab, uninspiring, and poorly organized. Maybe it sounded better in person. Maybe he’s a fantastic speaker and, with the force of his personality behind it, the address was actually quite moving. But I doubt it. I don’t think even Martin Luther King, Jr. could have earned more than courtesy applause with this address. If you have any Heineman stock in the race for governor, you might want to start thinking about selling.

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The Comments

Swid January 12, 2006 at 8:12pm

I’m surprised you didn’t mention that he did manage to sneak in (more of the same blatant) pandering to west Omaha on the OPS district boundary issue.

Mr. Wilson January 12, 2006 at 8:20pm

I�m surprised you didn�t mention that he did manage to sneak in (more of the same blatant) pandering to west Omaha on the OPS district boundary issue.

You mean like this? (7th bullet)

Heineman got some digs in on Omaha, but his execution was sloppy and simplistic. I�m sure he didn�t make any friends with any Senators from Omaha.

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